An extremely popular card game, rummy is available in many variations across the world. In India, a variation called 13-card rummy is the most popular one. This version is also called Indian rummy. The game is a cultural phenomenon and is frequently played in every nook and corner of the country. Believed to be the combination of rummy 500 and gin rummy, Indian rummy can now be played online, thanks to the surge of the online gaming industry.
Here is a guide on the rules and the point system for playing Indian rummy games online.
The objective of Indian rummy is to arrange the 13 cards dealt to you in either sequences or sequences and sets and make a valid declaration. The winner of the game gets zero points.
Indian rummy rules and gameplay
- A game of Indian rummy is played by two to six players at a time.
- If there are two players, a single card deck is used to play the game. You can use two card decks when the number of players at the table is more than two.
- Each player is dealt 13 cards.
- The remaining cards are placed at the center of the table face-down, forming the closed deck.
- A card is pulled from the top of the closed pile and placed on the table facing upward. This becomes the discard pile, which is also known as the open deck.
- A random card is picked from the closed deck, which becomes the wild joker. For example, if 2♥ is randomly picked as the wild joker, all the 2s will become the wild jokers for that particular game.
- Once the game starts, each player will have to pick a card from either the closed deck or the open deck and discard a card to the open deck.
- If the card you pick is one that you can use to build your winning hand, you should keep it and discard an unwanted card from your hand to the discard pile.
- If the card you picked up is not of any use to you, you can discard it to the discard pile.
- If you have arranged your cards in required combinations, you can declare the game.
- For a winning hand, you need to have all the cards in hand arranged in either sequences or in sequences and sets. To make a valid declaration, you must have at least two sequences in hand, out of which at least one must be a pure sequence.
- If your declaration is valid, you win the game and get zero points. For an invalid declaration, you incur a penalty of 80 points.
What is a sequence?
A sequence is a combination of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. Q♥-K♥-A♥ is an example of a sequence. There are two types of sequences in rummy: pure sequence and impure sequence.
A pure sequence is a combination of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit where no card is replaced by a joker. For example, 5♠-6♠-7♠-8♠. To make a valid declaration, it is mandatory to make at least one pure sequence.
An impure sequence is a combination of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit, in which one or more missing cards have been replaced by a joker/jokers.
For example, J♣-2♥(WJ)-K♣ is an impure sequence where a wild joker (2♥) has been used as a replacement for the missing card Q♣.
What is a set?
A set is a combination of three or four cards of the same rank but different suits. Suits can be created both with or without jokers. The only condition for a valid set is that it cannot consist of two cards from the same suit.
What makes a valid declaration?
Below are some examples of the combinations you can make for a valid and winning declaration. Please note that at least two sequences are mandatory to make a valid declaration, out of which at least one must be a pure sequence.
- 2 sequences + 2 sets
- 3 sequences + 1 set
- All cards arranged in sequences
How are points calculated in rummy?
The cards ranked from lowest to highest are as follows:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A
Note: The ace (A) can form a sequence with 1 and 2 (A-2-3) as well as with Q and K (Q-K-A).
The face cards K, Q, J and ace (A) are worth 10 points each, while the number cards are worth their face value. For example, 2♣ is worth 2 points. The printed joker and wild joker are worth 0 points.
In rummy, points are negative. As mentioned earlier, the one who makes a valid declaration first scores zero points and is the winner. On the other hand, losing players get a penalty of points equal to the value of the unmatched cards in their hand. The highest penalty a player can get in a game of points rummy is 80 points.
Players can also incur a penalty in the following cases:
- Wrong declaration: If a player makes an invalid declaration, he/she incurs a penalty of 80 points.
- First drop: If a player drops out of the game before playing his/her first move, he/she gets a penalty of 20 points.
- Middle drop: If a player drops out of the game any time after making their first move, he/she faces a penalty of 40 points.
- Missing 3 consecutive turns: If you miss three consecutive turns when you play rummy online, you are automatically dropped from the game. It is considered a middle drop and you face a penalty of 40 points.
Once you master these rules, it is only a matter of practice, patience and perseverance until you become an ace Indian rummy player. So get started on your online rummy journey today!